I love music video since I can think. In 2020, 25 music videos particularly impressed and captivated me. I would like to present them here in the list and I will also write what I especially liked about the videos. Maybe some young bands will take these words as a reference for 2021, so that we can see even more amazing music videos.
The best Synth Pop music videos 2020 in no ranking order
Pet Shop Boys – Monkey Business
The official music video ‘Monkey Business’ by ‘Pet Shop Boys‘ taken from the album ‘Hotspot‘ is set in a kind of a high-society club in London. There are many illustrious people in the club who definitely stand out everywhere. The dance battles on a kind of catwalk and the mullticolour dance floor are entertaining. Of course with subsequent dance choreography by the entire cast. The video exudes a lot of good vibes. Director: Vaughan Arnell.
Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe, Jenny Wickham, Joelle Dyson, Luke Featherstone, Tarek Khwiss, Harry Alexander, Gemma Knight, Oxana Pachenko, Ali Goldsmith, Ian Waller, Alistair Natkiel, Kathryn McGarr, Gavin Coward, Gary Murphy, Lewis Burton, Nathaniel Williams, Lydia Francis, Deborah Tracey, Julie Ann Minaii, Ray Noir, Sadiq Ali, Lia Anderson, Samantha Togni, Ralf Higgins, Sirena Simon, Eliza Nearn Shearn, Charlotte Gorton, Artemis Manias, Patience James, Minho Jung, Eloise Trippier, Amanda Harris, Amie Martin, Josephine Brook, Daisy Franklin, Adedamola Bademosi, Nicon Caraman, Mangala Harris, Nelson Holtz, Aima Indigo, Mark N, Adrian Naidas, Yasmin Ogbu, Helenna Ren, Rupert Shelbourne, Fran Targ, Juan Wei, Alistair Wroe.
Hatari – Engin Miskunn
In the official music video ‘Engin Miskunn’ by ‘Hatari’, the band from Iceland shows that you can achieve a lot of effect with the right costumes. The band is always artistically provocative and presents itself with a totalitarian attitude. However, the band describes itself as anti-capitalist and typical gender roles do not exist. In the video, the band marches through the night to end up in a kind of ceremony. But see for yourself! Director : Magnús Leifsson.
Agonoize – A Vampire Tale (Bloodlust/ Blocks On The Floor)
Our team member Annika posted the official music video ‘A Vampire Tale (Bloodlust/ Blocks On The Floor)’ by ‘Agonoize’. I have to admit that I personally am not a big fan of the band. The music is too aggressive for me and I don’t like to be shouted at when listening to music. The video, however, is really cool. Of course the idea to make a stop-motion video with Lego is not new, but as a music video with the right lighting it is very well done here.
IC3PEAK – Марш (Marsch)
The official music video ‘Марш (March)’ by the Russian band ‘IC3PEAK’ made a lasting impression on me. I visited Moscow for the first time in 2018 without any expectations and I am impressed by this beautiful city. The intro of the video with the drums in a Russian metro station (probably 3D replica) directly shows the aesthetic claim of the band. At this point I’m not sure if it’s really filmed or if it’s a 3D graphic, because the metro stations in Moscow are the cleanest I’ve ever seen in my life. It becomes provocative and startling when the drumsticks are replaced by machine guns. It is obvious that the video is a kind of anti-war campaign. This is fantastically portrayed with increasingly disturbing but artistically valuable images. You definitely won’t get the music video out of your head soon.
The band ‘PALAST’ has made a music video for their great and dark cover version of ‘Pretty Woman’ (Originally by Roy Orbison) that gets under your skin. The director Sascha Pace shows the tragic side of a prostitute with drastic images. A music video that leaves a melancholy and burdening feeling.
Freak Injection – Daddy Is The Devil
Here the band name says it all: ‘Freak Injection‘ leave no cliché out in the official music video ‘Daddy Is The Devil’. When it comes to Industrial Rock, I’m always only half in. The song isn’t bad, but for my taste only mediocre. But the over-the-top video has everything and much more. We are talking about: Sexy devil girls in glitter, a kind of freak circus with first class costumes, a BDSM disco location, lots of naked skin, unicorns, classic blue-violet Synthwave lighting, glitter drugs and of course the devil himself. Plus an unexpected ending!
Empathy Test – Monsters
With the music video ‘Monsters’ from ‘Empathy Test‘ taken from the same-titled album ‘Monsters‘, the band shows what is possible without much expense, but with a lot of creativity and cinematic skills. It’s super exciting to see what can be staged in a car park with flickering lights and a costume made from a bed sheet. It’s obvious that the subject of sex is being portrayed on film here, but I haven’t seen this so fascinating in a long time. The music video was directed by award winning director Calum Macdiarmid.
Depeche Mode – Soothe My Soul (Extended)
How do you make a great music video even better? The 2013 music video ‘Soothe My Soul’ from the album ‘Delta Machine‘ by ‘Depeche Mode‘ was released in 2020 in an ‘extended version’ and offers about 1:17 minutes more footage. In beautiful, aesthetically sophisticated images, this is about the most beautiful secondary thing in the world. By the way, various scenes in the video are NSFW. The black and white video in 1:1 format is directed by Warren Fu.
Sirus – The Book Of Gates
The official music video ‘The Book Of Gates’ by Industrial band ‘Sirus‘ is somehow simple but effective. The drone footage of the Giza pyramids makes you think the video was shot in Kario (Egypt). However, it is more likely that the scenes with the band were filmed in their home country Australia. At least that’s my guess. But that’s what makes the video interesting. The track is extremely varied and confuses the listener in an exciting way with complete sound twists. But back to the music video. Great costumes in the classic ‘Mad Max 2‘ style and drums that are played even though they are on fire make even Rammstein turn green with envy.
Priest – Dead Ringer
In 2020, Priest revealed their new masks in Motion in their new music video ‘Dead Ringer’ taken from the album ‘Cyberhead‘. The staging is extremely effective. With desaturated colours, the red elements in the masks look more threatening. The video effects are indeed somehow nostalgic, but at least they are used discreetly and remind me of the Japanese horror film ‘Uzumaki‘. Directed by: Tom Waldton and Linton Rubino. See also the music video ‘Thieves‘ from ‘Priest‘.
Erasure – Nerves Of Steel
In general, I think ‘Erasure‘ make too few music videos. I don’t count the numerous lyric videos among them. So I found the music video ‘Nerves Of Steel’ from the album ‘The Neon‘ all the more pleasing. A video full of perfectly styled drag queens presenting the fantastic Erasure song in a kind of karaoke. Great brightly coloured images with vibrant colours let your eyes not be distracted by anything else. The video almost hypnotises you with its wonderful images. When watching it for the first time, I had the feeling of sitting in a London pub/bar on a karaoke evening and enjoying the perfect entertainment.
System Syn – Once Upon A Second Act
The official music video ‘Once Upon A Second Act’ by ‘System Syn‘ taken from the same-titled album ‘Once Upon A Second Act‘ comes around the corner in a simple black and white look. The video shots look very warm and organic and fit perfectly into the composition with the 3D animations.
Peaches – Flip This
I have to confess to my shame that I found the music video ‘Flip This’ by ‘Peaches’ really rubbish at first. And I first thought: “Okay, this is a budget video shot in her own Berlin flat with an iPhone. Yeah, so original!”. But then somehow it captivated me, like a bad accident where you can’t look away. But a little over halfway through, it gets a twist and Peaches comes out of the vocal booth in a really wacky costume that I’d describe as weird goth sexy underwear. I think a similar spiky costume was used by the Pet Shop Boys on the cover of their Single ‘Vocal‘. Is there a strange connection or is it just coincidence?
Corlyx – White Wolf
In their music video ‘White Wolf’, ‘Corlyx‘ combine Instagram visuals with an 80s music video storyline. So the storyline is pretty thin, but pretty cool staged. The costumes are as always fantastic and fit the characters. What I find really fascinating and disgusting are those all-black contact lenses.
Dunkelsucht – This Is Fucking Mainstream!
Apart from the great music video ‘This Is Fucking Mainstream’ by ‘Dunkelsucht’, the track is also my uber hit of summer 2020. Crisp beat, fresh sounds and awesome to dance to. The shadow costume with the red glowing eyes draws a lot of attention from the beginning. The lighting of the shots are perfect and exciting.
My little highlight in the video is the scene with the pitchfork, which is supposed to be a refernce of the famous painting ‘American Gothic‘. I’m celebrating this so hard! I recognise so many parodies in the video and hope I’m not just imagining them. Table with skull = Project Pitchfork “Carnival” Cover (1:11), kissing couple = Prince “Kiss” (1:38) or the car with red interior lights = Depeche Mode “Policy Of Truth” (1:44).
Nina – The Calm Before The Storm
The official music video ‘The Calm Before The Storm’ by Synthwave act ‘Nina’ not only shows regular footage from my favourite city (London), but also skilfully uses neon lights. Many small details from video games, fashion accessories and similar typical 80s things can be found in her videos. Nina lives and breathes the 80s style and its attitude. Great video with a nostalgic feeling.
Night Club – Gossip
The official music video ‘Gossip’ by ‘Night Club‘ from the album ‘Die Die Lullaby‘ presents itself with a lovely cheesy video with an 80s style. The video is again the best proof that you can make a virtue out of necessity. Shop for a few dollars in a Halloween shop, shoot for a day in front of a green screen, then add a pinch of post-production with After Effects and boom…. a first-class, funny music video is ready. Good job!
Danny Blu – White (K)night
With ‘White (K)night’, ‘Danny Blu’ has released a music video that is sexually very provocative and although there are no explicit nude scenes, I would classify the video as NSFW. I mention this because in one scene Danny Blu and another man are naked facing each other and both are ‘connected’ with their penis in a silver tube. I’ll just leave the artistic interpretation open. Personally, I find the video appealing and interesting with a touch of goth aesthetics. Also check out the music video ‘Love Me Bad‘ from ‘Danny Blu’.
Sammi Doll – AN OM IE
With great surprise ‘Sammi Doll‘ (IAMX) releases the song and music video ‘AN OM IE’ and shows that she doesn’t have to hide from anyone even solo. The music video is a gorgeous, visual grenade with 100% goth attitude. Sammi Doll‘ is even super sexy when she’s in the bathtub covered in white slime and wearing an octopus on her head. Fun fact: The scenery in which Sammi performs on in front of the couch with all the pictures is the same setting as in the video ‘Gods & Gold‘ from ‘Aesthetic Perfection‘. I hope we will hear and see a lot more of ‘Sammi Doll‘. I would be very happy about a solo album soon!
Unify Separate – Solitude & I
I like several things about the official music video ‘Solitude & I’ from ‘Unify Separate‘ (formerly US). There are small details, but for me they make a good music video, made with a lot of heart and soul. The first shot is not new and has probably been copied 100 times before: the fixed camera position on the bonnet reminds me of the music video ‘Sabotage‘ by the ‘Beastie Boys’, which is also a super cool video. And then the car! A dystopian band vehicle ala ‘Mad Max’ style has been built here with little budget. Then quickly bought two disposable paint suits and an atomiser from the DIY store and shot somewhere in the outback to capture the perfect doomsday feeling. Thumbs up.
Jorge Elbrecht – Perish (Feat. Geneva Jacuzzi)
The official music video ‘Perish (Feat. Geneva Jacuzzi)’ from ‘Jorge Elbrecht’ is a wild mix of SciFi and BDSM imagery. The first scene with the flying stone head will surely be recognised by every older sci-fi fan as a reference to the film ‘Zardoz‘ (1974) with Sean Connery. Geneva Jacuzzi presents herself in the video wearing a latex suit in a kind of totalitarian style. The environment is a curious mix of antique Greek architecture and mythology with some Space Age futuristic buildings and effects.
GusGus – Higher (Feat. VÖK)
Hypnotising in sound and image is the official music video ‘Higher (Feat. VÖK)’ by ‘GusGus‘. The image presentation is very clean and strongly artistic. The digital copies of the ‘dancers’ is in principle a simple effect and also not new, but here used elegantly and very effectively.
Kiberspassk – Derevna
Yes, the song is very very stressful and not my cup of tea. The ultra cool official music video ‘Derevna’ from ‘Kiberspassk’ was probably shot somewhere in the Russian no man’s land. I don’t need to say much about the fantastic costumes. The squid costume is incredibly original and I haven’t seen it like that before. I’m looking forward to seeing someone wearing it at a goth festival. Is this the new Russian traditional goth look? I don’t know, but for me it’s one of the best Goth outfits of 2020!
“When you end up getting more than you expected”: that’s what I thought of the music video ‘Deepest Pleasure’ made by ‘ XHOANA X‘. The track is already kind of cool and provokes through the lyrics with explicit content. With the mindset of seeing a typical sexy Dark Pop video, I was very surprised at the end with a really sinister twist. I won’t spoil it now, just watch it at your leisure.
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